An open letter from an evangelical pastor to Christians in America,
Please let’s not have one single person who follows Jesus act like Job’s friends this week as we mourn those killed in the largest mass shooting in our history. What do I mean? Job’s friends saw tragedy swallow his family, they heard the account of bloodshed Job’s children suffered. What was their conclusion? “Job you must have done something to deserve this. Your suffering is God’s punishment and condemnation of you.”
Pulse is known as one of the hottest gay night clubs in Orlando. This means the issue of homosexuality and God’s opinion on and response to that matter is in the back of many Christian’s minds. So, Christians, we have a choice to make. Will you allow your view of homosexuality turn you into Job’s friend and speak or quietly believe in the actual violent condemnation of these gunned down beautiful souls? This type of thinking has emerged from Christians in the media cycles following every major tragedy our nation has faced, blaming hurricanes and downed twin towers, etc., as God’s punishment on the lifestyles of the victims.
Choosing to hold the viewpoint (spoken or not) that tragedy is God’s punishment on people is choosing your own type of brutality and poisonous pride in its theological form.
Sin is paid for by Christ and Christ alone, end of story (Romans 3:24, Romans 4:25). We are all freed by the gift of God’s grace alone. Yes, there are sometimes consequences to sin that we experience on earth (you steal – you go to jail). But natural consequences to sin and God’s condemning punishment are worlds apart. Any viewpoint that includes God’s punishment or retribution on an actual person is just plain unbiblical. No one can pay for their own sin, it’s Christ alone.
Let’s remember God’s response to Job’s condemning friends, essentially, “Be quiet, you have no idea what you are talking about. I am more powerful and loving than you can ever imagine and my ways are higher and more upstanding than you will ever know.”
Jesus turns the tables on religious condemnation. Remember the story he told, there was a man on the road, bleeding and injured, the religious folks walked by and did nothing, the Samaritan came and showed lavish compassion for the person in need.
These are Christ’s marching orders for Christians this week from that scripture – show lavish compassion on the hurting. Be a display of grace pointing people to God our Father. This is our moment church.
Do not blame violence on God. Do not blame massacre on homosexuality. Do not shame people in their grief and hurt. Our words this week can hold the power of death and life for people wondering is God really a God of grace. Please choose them wisely.
Image- (STEVE NESIUS/REUTERS)